Citizens Of Berlin Voted In A Referendum To Nationalize 240,000 Apartments Owned By Corporations

The initiators of the referendum on the expropriation of apartments owned by large housing corporations in Berlin celebrated. On Sunday, a sufficient number of citizens supported their initiative. Now it is the turn of the future Senate.

The citizens of Berlin have declared themselves in favor of the expropriation of apartments owned by large housing corporations

In the referendum, held on September 26, 56.4 percent of voters voted FOR, and 39.0 percent were against, as announced by the provincial election administration on Monday morning. The turnout of citizens exceeded the minimum quorum of a quarter of citizens with the right to vote.

According to the text of the resolution, the Berlin Senate is now required to “take all measures” necessary for the transfer of real estate to social ownership and to draft a law for that purpose.

However, voting is not legally binding on politicians, as no specific draft law was voted on that would be passed directly in a referendum. However, the new Senate and House of Representatives, which were also elected in the September 26 provincial elections, will have to deal with the results of the citizens’ vote.

It is about 240,000 apartments

According to the text of the initiative for the organization of the Berlin referendum, the future Senate is now called upon to draft a law on the transfer of about 240,000 apartments in Berlin to social ownership. This would affect all private housing companies that own more than 3,000 apartments in the capital, with the exception of housing cooperatives. The focus of the expropriation initiative is a dozen real estate companies.

The initiators were very happy in the evening. “Together we started the city and shook politics – that’s what we celebrate today. Thousands of us became active. We fought powerful opponents and won. We will not disappear again so quickly, “said Joana Kusiak, spokeswoman for the” Expropriation Initiative – Deutsche Wohnen & Co “.

“The demand for the transfer of apartments to social ownership unites far more votes than any political party. We, the citizens of Berlin, have decided: No one should speculate with our apartments “, Kusiak points out.

According to the announcements from this organization, they now intend to intensively monitor the upcoming coalition negotiations between the city-province of Berlin.

“Disrespecting the referendum would be a political scandal. We will not give up until the transfer of apartments to social ownership is carried out “, says Kale Kunkel, spokesperson for the Initiative.

Gifaj insists on legal clarification

The main candidate of the SPD in Berlin, Franciska Gifaj, stated that she would respect the decision of the referendum: “Now, an appropriate bill must be drafted. But that bill must then be examined to determine what would be feasible under the Constitution. ”

To remind, the German Social Democrats (SPD) narrowly won Sunday’s national elections, the forecast results showed.

Gifajeva warned that Berlin must not receive another negative verdict from the Federal Constitutional Court, such as the recent repeal of the ceiling for rent prices in Berlin.

The main candidate of the Greens, Betina Jaras, believes that the Senate must take the result of the referendum seriously. “It is part of the coalition negotiations,” she told the DPA.

As an alternative, Jaras presented his concept of “mechanism for protection against high rents”, ie. a voluntary pact between politicians, landlords and other parties involved in the construction of new buildings and the determination of fair rents.

The Berlin Left sees the results of the referendum as a clear task for politics. “This cannot be ignored,” Katina Schubert told dpa. “Now the best lawyers have to deal with that in order to draft a law that works in a legally secure way. That is the mandate for the new Senate. “

Vonovia offers rent limits

Vonovia Housing Corporation, which now has a majority stake in housing corporation Deutsche Wohnen, warned after the referendum results of a long stalemate. Vonovie’s boss Rolf Buch suggested that the two companies voluntarily limit the amount of their rents in Berlin for the next five years. In addition, they are ready to build 13,000 apartments in Berlin.


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